There’s a unique level of appreciation and respect for someone who kicks your ass on the court. First, you’re mad, get competitive, but by the end of it, you kind of enjoy the mastery of it all. That’s why a lot of defensive specialists are sharing so many Kobe stories. They are used to locking people up, and then Kobe gets their number. Not only that, but he also adds some LA to it.
Shumpert was playing for the Knicks at the time, and the Lakers were at the end of an East Coast trip. Teams are usually exhausted at that point, eager to get on the plane and go home, an excellent chance for the home team. Shumpert, a defensive specialist, knew he had Kobe that night. He grabbed a couple of steals, just didn’t let Kobe breathe. Shumpert was confident that night.
“I thought I was killing it, and then the 4th quarter started. He tapped me before we went out there. ‘You had a great game, young fella.’ He just went off, the whole 4th quarter on me.”Iman Shumpert, Vlad TV
Everything Shumpert was doing for three quarters stopped working. Kobe was getting everything he wanted. The last game of the East trip, 4th quarter, Madison Square Garden. Shumpert learned the hard way that Kobe was giving him the first three quarters and saved something extra for the end. There was nothing he could do about it but knew coach D’Antoni wouldn’t sub him out. He was the best the Knicks had. So Shumpert did what everyone else was doing – he enjoyed the show.
“They calling time outs and I’m watching the highlights of what he’s doing to me, during the time out. You know the Garden, they don’t care, they’ll play the other team’s highlights.”Iman Shumpert, Vlad TV
Shumpert was looking at his coach, marveling what Kobe was doing to him and the Knicks during time outs. D’Antoni wasn’t happy but knew he couldn’t blame him. When a guy pulls this move, you know he’s unstoppable that night.